Clearance Denied Because of Foreign Influence Concerns Involving a Close U.S. Ally
It may be surprising to a lot of people in the United States that Israel is listed by the U.S. Department of State as a designated country and has export control and ITAR restrictions and sanctions are in place due to concerns about missile technology theft and other issues. Isn’t Israel one of our closest allies? Don’t we provide them military and financial assistance? Yes to both questions!
However, they are also one of the major practitioners of industrial espionage against U.S. companies that support military research and technology. Mandatory conscription into the Israeli Defense Forces is also a concern because Israeli intelligence quite often uses its citizens to collect information after they leave military service. It is for these reasons security clearance applicants that have close ties to Israeli citizens are scrutinized closely for possible foreign influence concerns.
A U.S. defense contractor, who had previously held a security clearance for over 30 years, had his appeal denied by the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals because he failed to mitigate concerns about his wife and three step-children, all of whom are Israeli citizens. The judge’s analysis in this case cited the fact that the applicant’s strong ties to Israel through his wife and stepchildren, and the fact that she owns property in Israel, could put him in a position of having to choose between U.S. and Israeli national interests. As is always the case, any doubts about eligibility for access to classified information will be resolved in favor of national security.